Saturday, November 16, 2013

The End - Picking up Elder Paxton

Oct 5, 2011 we flew to Boise to pick up Elder Paxton at the mission presidents home.  What a happy reunion.  Frank and I were there along with president Cannon, his counselors and their wives.  We had ice cream sundaes but nothing was sweeter than my first hug from my son.

 Mom's First Hug!

 Dad's just a little happy

Proud parents (yes, those are teary eyes!)

President & Sis Cannon and Elder and Sis Kotter

Nicole flew up to Boise the next day and then Elder Paxton took us on a little tour of some of his favorite places on his mission.  I did not get pictures of every place we went, but here are a few.

 Nicole's first hug

 Riding the burros at President Rivera's 

Nicole rode too!

 Devil's Wash Bowl

Elder Paxton took us from one end of his mission to the other visiting families along the way.  We met several members that he worked with along with families that he had baptized.  He was our translator with the families of those that only spoke spanish. It was awesome to hear him so fluent and comfortable with the people he taught.

On Saturday night we had a family party at Grandpa and Grandma DeMond's. Elder Paxton shared experiences from his mission.  Ask him to tell you the Rat trap story of faith. Jeff, Rosemary, Clayton, AJ, Jace and Zeke DeMond, Lori, Craig, Ilah, Bowen, and Gus Hickman, Grandpa and Grandma DeMond, Grandpa and Grandma Paxton, Debbie, David, Jesse and Gabe Paxton were all there. 

Sunday after church we flew back to PHX. Trevor, the Huffman family and Thomas Payne were there to greet us at the airport.

 Trevor gets a hug

Nicole made a poster to welcome Elder Paxton home and the dogs were even excited to see him!

Elder Paxton felt naked when he had to take off his missionary badge when President Clegg released him.  We are all so proud of the great mission he served.  We are excited to have him home and see what the next chapter brings to his life.

Here is the letter we received from President Cannon upon his release letting us know what a great missionary Elder Paxton was in the Boise Idaho mission.

"You served me well my little one, Come into my arms to dwell"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Delicious Dozen and a 3 Pointer...

So we have had a fun couple of days.  Today, we started the day off by going to Denny's for all you can eat pancakes for only 4 dollars.  I put down 12 (hence the delicious dozen), and between the 5 missionaries we ate 52 pancakes. Nobody really wants to think about eating pancakes for a very long time.  Personally I had around 2500 calories, including syrup, butter and the pancakes.  We are pretty full and are probably going to just take a nap later.
Yesterday, we got Elder Frost, from Flagstaff, he will be my replacement here in the Nampa 32nd branch, and we went to do some service.  We were cleaning out a garage and I went to take out a bag of trash, and the bin was very full so I pushed it down with some force to get it all in.  I quickly closed it and ran away because it really smelled and there were a lot of flies all over it.  I went to go continue cleaning and I realized that my hand was covered in blood and it was dripping on the ground. I ran inside to wash it off and found out that I had a pretty deep cut over my knuckle.  We put a bunch of salt on it to hopefully stop the bleeding but it really didn't do a whole lot.  So we took a trip to the ER.  While going in I realized that I could see my tendon, so I thought it safe to get it checked out.  There was nothing seriously damaged, but I did end up getting 3 stitches put in.  In Spanish, the word for stitches is the same for points, so that is how I got a 3 pointer.  So I get to go home with a battle wound.
I really enjoyed being able to watch all 5 sessions of General Conference.  I was grateful to have some of my questions, that I had about what to do for the rest of my life, answered.  I can't wait for the conference edition of the Ensign to come out so that I can review all of the wonderful council that we received.  One talk that I really enjoyed was the talk by Elder Holland during the Priesthood Session.  He talked a lot about preparing for a mission, and how everyone needs to, young men, young women, and even the slightly more seasoned members need to prepare to serve a mission.  I would love to be able to serve another mission one day when I am as old and crazy as some of our office staff seem to be.
Hopefully we will be able to get up here soon after I get back, I am hoping to be able to visit a bunch of people.  Especially for Sunday, because Cornelio and Zenaida are going to be confirmed on the 9th and I would really like to be there.  But what ever happens happens.  Hope everyone has a great day today and tomorrow, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Elder Paxton

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time to run!

So today is going to be a very, very short email. We went to the Zoo again, as a Zone activity, and getting back took longer then hoped (we almost ran out of gas, we pumped half a gallon more then I had ever pumped in this car).
Also tonight we are going Ontario, for a baptism that I have been waiting for a long time to have. Cornelio and Zenaida are going to get married and baptized tonight at 7:00 (another reason for being in a hurry, we have to go to dinner, and make the drive out to Ontario and hopefully get there by 6:30ish).
Cornelia and Zenaida
We had a better week this week and are hoping to be able to teach a lot of families this week. We have a lot more appointments set for this week then we did for last week.
Well, sorry for the shortness, but it's time to run!
Elder Paxton

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello Family!

This week was a little disappointing, because our investigator pool has been drying up, but we are working on creating a lot of streams (of new investigators) to keep it full and to keep us busy.

Elder Acuña and I are working extra hard this week to have a lot of referrals and to convert those referrals into new investigators.

On Sunday evening we were finally able to contact a referral that we got from the Zone Leaders almost two weeks ago.  Her name is Rosa Dominguez, and Elder Acuña actually knew her in Boise when he served there, over a year ago.  She seems pretty interested for herself, but more interested in the Gospel, for her children.  She was our last visit of the week (week ending on Sunday at 9:00, and we visited her at about 8:30).  We were able to have a lesson with her and set an appointment with her for Friday.

Last Friday, I went on exchanges to Caldwell.  I always enjoy going back to visit my "birthplace,"  especially since I am now able to communicate, much better, with everyone there.  We were able to have a couple of teaching visits, and also had a random service project.  We were at a house and started to visit, and the mom came out and started to get the lawn mower ready, and we took it from her and mowed the lawn, in our shirt and ties.  I know that they were very grateful for the help, and Elder Ilagan (my temporary companion) and I were happy to help.

Yesterday, we had a funny experience.  We were told that we had interviews with President Cannon in Boise, so the whole zone went.  We were all a little confused, because normally interviews are done by district.  So we were waiting in the mission office and when he got done with the other Elders that he was interviewing, he looked very surprised to see all of us there waiting.  It turns out that it was supposed to be the district that is close to Boise, and not the whole zone.  President was happy to see all of us there ready and on time, but he said that he didn't have time to be able to interview all 16 of us.  So we are going to have interviews on Friday morning, like he was planning.

We are planning on having a great week and we would also appreciate any prayers and referrals on our behalf (we are teaching in the Nampa West Stake, so if you know any one there that speaks Spanish let us know).

 Elder Paxton

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sights in Boise

We have had a couple of fun P-Days these past few weeks.  We did make it to the zoo last week, and even though it was a lot smaller then the PHX Zoo, it was still really fun to go. We might be going back in a couple of weeks. We didn't have enough time to see all of the animals for as long as I would have liked.

Today we took a trip to the famous Smurf Turf.  We didn't get to actually go on the field, but we took some pictures close to it and in the book store they had some old turf that was used in years past, so touching that had to do.  It was pretty fun, because one of the members that goes to the Boise branch works there and she gave us the guided tour, which included going to some of the other things that there is on campus (I think she was just trying to get us to want to go there).  We also got to eat lunch at the cafeteria there.  It was buffet style so we all enjoyed it.

While we were in Boise, so close to Lori's house, we decided to make a quick stop there.  Only Lori, Gus, and Josie were there but we did see Ilah walking home as we were driving away.  It was fun to see them, and we will be seeing them again before to long.

On Sunday we were able to have Mike's baptism.  His family have been members for a long time, but because of some legal issues he was able to finally be baptized, after two years of anxious waiting.  It was a fun baptism, no filling of the font by hand, but the Spirit was very present.  For some reason, most of the baptisms that missionaries have are always really warm. We were all sweating in the room where the font is and have the entire room filled to standing room only didn't help the problem.  I think for our next one we are going to get there 3  hours early with some portable swamp coolers and fill them with ice water so that the room is freezing cold when everyone first gets there. By the time things get going it should be a very nice comfortable temperature, especially for us missionaries who have to wear our jackets.

So we have had a pretty long day today, we got up at 6:30, like always, but we have been going since 7:30, when we got our haircut, and then we went down to Boise. We have an appointment at 6:00, and still need to go shopping for the week so we need to get going pretty soon.


Elder Paxton

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Shalimar missionary

That is so crazy that Jake is going to be coming up here.  I will have to show him around when he gets to the field.  If Bishop wants us to speak together that would be great.

With that note about the language in Jake's call I am pretty sure that every call letter says that your mission president may adjust your language assignment, according to the needs of the mission.  I have only heard of one English Elder that served in Spanish for his very last transfer, but that is because he has served in a lot of "Spanglish" areas and had a lot of Spanish companions, who did their language study, so he studied Spanish as well.  Besides him I have never heard of anyone coming to Spanish from English.  Elders do go English from Spanish quite a bit though, I have been lucky enough to never have to do that.

The fun never ends in the great Idaho Boise Mission.  In the group of Elders that came with Elder Arrieta, there was an Elder Flake, from Snowflake.  The funny thing is that his cousin Elder Flake from Snowflake is already serving in this mission.  There was actually a 50/50 chance that Elder Flake would train Elder Flake (it didn't happen).

This past Saturday we had a pretty fun day.  We went to a baptism, in Caldwell, for Jesus Benitez.  I am pretty sure that all of his family are members.  I had met them when I served in Caldwell, but I didn't meet Jesus until his baptismal interview  this past Thursday.  When we got to his baptismal service an Elder was outside and told us to not put on our suit coats yet because the font wasn't full yet and they were filling it by hand.  I thought that it may have been mostly full, but it only had about three inches of water in it.  So everyone was filling up the font by hand with pots and pitchers and even trash cans (only the clean ones).  It was pretty fun to do.  Eventually we got a hose from somewhere so that was going into the font, and at about that time, the font filler finally answered his phone and came and started to fill it the normal way.  It was good that a lot of English Elders were there so there was a lot of helping hands.  After all was said and done we had a great baptism.

Jesus Benitez' Baptism

That is pretty much all that has been going on here.    We are planning on going to the zoo today.  I have planned a couple of times but never been able to make it so we will see if we get there today.

 Elder Paxton

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sad News...

Last night we missed a call from President Cannon. We weren't able to call him until this morning, and he shared some very sad news. Elder Arrieta has received his visa to go down to Mexico. It seems like all of the times that I get a visa waiter they don't have to wait for very long before they get their visa. We have really enjoyed having his enthusiasm and his desire to work.

Here's a picture of Elder Arrieta with Elder Paxton that the office sent this week

The good news is that we did have a great week together. We upped the number of total lessons taught. And were able to set a new baptismal date.

Michael Hobbs is going to be baptized on Sunday the 11th (9/11). Hopefully there won't be any problems with it happening on the 10 year anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centers. We were able to teach (review) him all the things he needs to know before baptism. His parents have done a very good job of helping him along the way. He has already read the Book of Mormon through twice, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the New Testament. I think he gets the prize for being ready the most before baptism. He is really excited to get baptized and can't wait to be a member of the church.

On Sunday we didn't have any investigators come to our branch (Angel went to the branch in Kuna), but we did have a Spanish speaking member bring a friend to our branch. She said that she wants to come to church more, and also have us over to teach her. We have an appointment to go by around 2 tomorrow and hopefully all goes well and that we can baptize her very soon. We have high hopes for her though.

Last Wednesday we had a really fun service opportunity. We go to cut down a very large tree, using nothing but a hand saw and a machete. Elders aren't allowed to use power tools, so the chain saw was out of the question. The good thing is that it was a tree with a really short trunk and we just cut all of the branches off. The biggest cut was probably about 8-12 inches. We had a lot of fun and worked really hard.

Thankfully nothing was damaged due to falling branches or the wild swinging of the machete. It was a great help to the family, because one branch had fallen from some really strong winds, and it was sitting on top of her fence and was starting to break it. So with little damage to the fence the whole problem was taken care of. I really enjoy doing service, especially when we get to do some physical work.

Well that is pretty much everything that is going on here. Elder Acuña and I are planning on working hard, even after Elder Arrieta is taken from us.

Elder Paxton